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Eight NATO Troops killed as Afghan Pilot Opens Fire

Posted by on Thursday, April 28, 2011, 10:26
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Eight Nato troops and a contractor were killed when an Afghan pilot opened fire on Wednesday after a row at a Kabul training centre in one of the deadliest such attacks since the US-led invasion in 2001.

Afghan Pilot
Afghan Pilot

The killings appeared to stem from an argument rather than terrorism, but served to highlight the prevailing insecurity in Afghanistan, 10 years after foreign troops ousted the Taliban from power.

They were also likely to raise questions over a massive Nato-led effort to expand and train Afghanistan’s military and police so they can take over when foreign combat operations are scheduled to end in 2014.

The Nato-led training mission in Afghanistan confirmed that eight international troops and a contractor died in the shooting but did not reveal the nationality of the troops killed in line with policy.

Afghan defence ministry spokesman Mohammad Zahir Azimi earlier gave further details of the clash, which is now over.

“At around 11:00am (0630 GMT) within the air force compound, an argument took place between an (Afghan) air force officer and foreign colleagues,” he said. “An exchange of fire followed. A number have been killed and injured.”

The Afghan pilot was shot dead by Afghan soldiers following the killings, which took place at a site shared by Kabul’s military and civilian airports, he added.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the incident in a text message to AFP, although the militants are known routinely to exaggerate their claims.

But an Afghan official, speaking on condition of anonymity, identified the gunman as a 50-year-old pilot from a well-respected Kabul family, and said the shooting was the result of an argument and was not a terrorist act.

The pilot is thought to have used a pistol in the shooting, the source added.

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